Tuesday, 28 October 2003
Google joins Amazon in expanding its book bootlegging
According to this article in today's New York Times (free registration and cookie acceptance required unless, ironically, you follow a link from a Google.com news search), "Google.com has begun talks with book publishers to compile a searchable database of the contents of thousands of volumes."
As I mentioned in yesterday's blog entry, Google.com's "cache" is already the most significant channel for unauthorized online distribution of copyrighted text, and certainly the text plagiarism system that deprives writers of the most potential copyright licensing revenue. So as with Amazon.com -- whose Alexa subsidiary was already engaged in a similar copyright-theft endeveavor -- it's no surprise that Google.com is treading boldly into full-text book plagiarism. And it's equally characteristic of the attitudes of publishers (whether of text or of music) that the discussions have begun with publishers -- not with the writers who, under the doctrine of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Tasini v. New York Times , actually own the rights what Google.com wants to do, and Amazon.com is already doing.
There's an argument for why authors might benefit, even financially, from making the full text of their books (at least some books) available on the Web for downloading and/or searching. But if I want to make the text of my books available to Google to index and include in search results, why wouldn't I just put it on my own Web site, where I can control and update it? I want people to come to my own Web site for information about my books. Not Google.com, and not Amazon.com. I can't see any benefit to authors or publishers from this scheme; its only beneficiaries would be the positions of Google.com and Amazon.com as portals to the world of books. No thanks. When looking for books, I'll use Google.com, if at all, to find individual authors' individual Web sites.Link | Posted by Edward on Tuesday, 28 October 2003, 08:15 ( 8:15 AM)